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Hypnotherapy: An Effective Treatment for Fears & Phobias

According to the Anxiety & Depression Association of America, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the U.S. today.

The illness affects 40 million Americans above the age of 18, but only 36.9 percent of them opt for professional treatments.

Anxiety is one of the most common symptoms and responses to fears and phobias, and it is a response to any imminent threat that you think might emerge from the source of your fears. Anyone who leaves their fears, phobias, and subsequent symptoms untreated may be at risk of facing adverse consequences.

Now, with numerous treatment options available online, we often ponder over which one to choose and which would be the most efficient in the long run.

Out of the array of treatment tools available, hypnotherapy has been used for centuries as an effective technique to get rid of fears and phobias and alleviate anxiety and other mental illnesses.

Keep reading to learn more about how hypnosis can help you cope with your fears and aversions.

What Is Hypnotherapy for Fears and Phobia?

Hypnosis is a centuries-old technique that helps in mitigating the symptoms of anxiety, depression, and other issues that result from fears and phobias.

In hypnosis, the therapist transports the patient into a very conscious and focused state of mind. They do this through the use of therapeutic words, verbal cues, self-talk, music, and other methods. These techniques help eliminate any negative thoughts and feelings that may be pent up inside the person because of their fears.

A competent therapist is usually consulted to carry out the process of hypnotherapy. The therapist asks the patient to relax and go into a deep trance that resembles a nap or light sleep. The therapist then communicates ways in which the patient can cope with their fears, confront their phobias, and ease their symptoms.

Hypnosis helps the person reach a deeper level of relaxation and concentration, which one would not necessarily achieve through simple meditation. The person is unaware of their environment and surrounding and is able to focus and emphasize their trigger points better.


Besides consulting a professional, one can attain the state of consciousness through self-hypnosis, too. In fact, many people enter the state of self-hypnosis many times throughout the day. Some while reading a book and others when engrossed in a movie.

This state is when you are deeply involved and absorbed in an activity, unaware of your surroundings, and highly involved and focused on the activity. It helps you have better control over yourself and your emotions. This, in turn, helps to identify your trigger points and delve into deep relaxation.

To practice self-hypnosis, you need to get into a relaxed position in a comfortable spot. Then focus your gaze on an object, breathe deeply, and visualize yourself in a peaceful place. Listen to your senses, state affirmations with your goal in mind, and then slowly let your body come back to its normal state.

Who Needs Hypnotherapy?

Hypnosis is a form of treatment that is helpful for anyone who is suffering from anxiety, panic attacks, depression, or any other mental symptom as a result of their fears.

People who go through bouts of stress, uneasiness, breathlessness, and rapid heartbeat whenever they come across their source of fear can resort to hypnosis to deal with their symptoms in a more efficient manner.

Based on the severity of the symptoms, it can either be coupled with other treatment alternatives like cognitive behavioral therapy or exposure therapy or used independently, too.

Advantages of Hypnotherapy

Hypnosis and self-hypnosis are a more advanced state of meditation. Some fall back on it for therapeutic purposes, while some utilize it as an effective method to reduce their fears and related symptoms.

Hypnosis induces calmness, so hypnosis is very effective for anyone who has been going through severe anxiety as a result of their phobia.

Besides anxiety, phobias have many symptoms that self-hypnosis can help deal with. Here is how it can help:

  1. Improves Your Sleep Cycle
    Sleep cycles go for a toss when you suffer with a phobia. It disturbs your daily activities, routine, and schedule. Insomnia and irregular sleep patterns become a common phenomenon. You can easily access self-hypnosis and practice it to improve your quality of sleep.
  2. Reduces Multiple Mental Illnesses
    Hypnosis and self-hypnosis help overcome symptoms like stress, depression, lack of focus and concentration, and an array of mental diseases that can be toxic and aggressive.
  3. Helps You Lose Weight
    If you have been coping with your fears through poor eating habits and now wish to shed some weight, hypnosis can help you. It identifies the root cause of your poor eating habits and encourages you to eat mindfully.
  4. Instills Self-Confidence
    Living with fears and phobias can compromise how you feel about yourself. Through hypnosis, you can instill self-confidence and practice self-love. You can opt to listen to audio files of affirmations or chant a few yourself while in the state of trance.
  5. Beneficial for Physical Improvement
    Hypnosis can help you manage any case of acute or chronic pain that you have been suffering from. So besides mental health conditions, it targets physical health conditions like irritable bowel syndrome, obesity, and more.


Drawbacks of Hypnosis for Fears and Phobia

As much as it is true that hypnosis holds considerable potential to pacify your fears and help you overcome your phobias, it also has certain drawbacks that cannot be ignored.

  1. To master the skill of self-hypnosis, one has to practice several sessions of it. Attaining self-consciousness through hypnosis is not a one-time job. You may need hours of practice and sessions with the therapist before you can yield its actual benefits.
  2. Because hypnosis can induce optimum relaxation, some might often doubt it to be an effective tool of therapy.

There are a minimal number of disadvantageous associated with hypnosis, and if practiced accurately, there are many fruits of it to enjoy.

How to Make Hypnotherapy More Efficient

If you have trouble gaining benefits from hypnosis and it takes more than a few lessons for you to achieve your goals, there are a few easy ways through which you can expedite the healing process.

  • Make sure to always be comfortable dressed while practicing self-hypnosis.
  • Keep all your gadgets and distractions away, and choose a cozy spot for yourself where you can be left alone with your thoughts.
  • Continue practicing this treatment until you start observing long-term changes in yourself.
  • If you fail to achieve results from self-hypnosis, do not be afraid to seek help from a medical professional. Ensure that they offer services according to your needs and the severity of your fears and their symptoms.

Hypnosis has been wrongly portrayed in various media and entertainment channels as an occult practice that involves magic and bewitchment. However, contrary to its image, it has repeatedly helped show remarkable improvements in patients in terms of mental stability, anxiety, and other psychological issues.

If you are hoping to successfully change and improve your reactions to anything that triggers a negative response in you, don’t shy away from availing the tremendous benefits of hypnosis.

Your Fear Goes Up and Down

Are you someone who would rather climb the stairs than take the elevator? You call it squeezing in a workout after being sedentary the whole morning. Or perhaps you claim it's a faster route. These are both typical, normal, and acceptable reasons. But what if you need to be in the conference room on the eleventh floor in five minutes, and you're wearing your business suit and wingtips? Would you still prefer to take the stairs? If your answer is yes, then maybe it's time to take a closer look at your reasons for avoiding elevators. Elevators stir all sorts of emotions in passengers. From the discomfort of closeness to strangers to the sensations in our gut, elevators can be a source of the heebie-jeebies for many, but for some, they can also be a source of terror. Let's dig a little deeper into the latter, and see what this terror is all about and what can be done to manage it. To begin with, does being inside an elevator give you chills or the sweats? Or does it trigger an unpleasant memory? Perhaps you remember movies you've watched where something terrible happens inside an elevator. From Silence of the Lambs, The Shining, Final Destination 2, or the king of all elevator horror films, 2010’s Devil, the elevator becomes witness to something sinister and horrible. And you want nothing to do with any of it. You know that you're not claustrophobic. You can deal with heights just fine, too. And you know that you're not going to be trapped inside. All of these contribute to a fear of elevators—but they don't apply to you. Yet being inside one does something to you. It's hard to explain.

What is the Fear of Elevators Called?

What you have is a fear of elevators, which is called elevatophobia. It is most commonly triggered by an experience of getting stuck inside either due to a power outage or technical maintenance. Hearing about other people's experiences or watching a movie about similar circumstances can prompt a fear of elevators getting stuck with you inside. Usually, claustrophobics and agoraphobics may also develop elevatophobia because the triggers and objects of these fears are related. Claustrophobia is the fear of closed and cramped spaces, while agoraphobia is the fear of being trapped without any means of escape. Put the two together, and the elevator becomes the perfect combination of both phobias. The space is limited and closed, with only one means of entry and exit. You can add another point of access if you consider climbing the cables like they do in the movies, but that certainly isn't ideal.

Symptoms of Elevatophobia

If for some reason an elevator stops due to an outage or some technical difficulty, passengers with elevatophobia may go into full panic mode. Even if the maintenance team advises that it will just be a matter of minutes, by then, the person's mind has become irrational with the fear of the elevator falling, being stuck for hours, or other unpleasant thoughts. You would expect a person to exhibit the following physical symptoms: Additionally, you would be filled with that overwhelming anxiety where you feel that you have zero control over the situation. You start fearing the unknown and are filled with negative thoughts about death and imminent doom. You become irrational and unresponsive.

Possible Complications of Elevatophobia

When the panic sets in, the possibility of emergencies related to pre-existing conditions may make themselves known. This might include serious health crises like heart attacks or asthma attacks. When this happens, fear becomes a medical emergency. Elevator rides do not last long; it's just a matter of minutes or even less. But the fact that a person can escalate from panic to a near fatal medical situation classifies the fear of elevators as a 'hard phobia.'

Trying Some Self-Help Methods

Your fear of elevators can likely interfere with your social and work life and relationships. Not everyone understands that elevatophobia, like most phobias, can be crippling. But don't be disheartened. Depending on the level of your fear and level of control, you can gradually face and manage your phobia. Here are some recommendations you can try:
  1. Make a List of Everything that Entails Riding in an Elevator This is a systematic approach to getting over your anxiety. By following a step-by-step process, you can identify where the fear kicks in at its strongest. You can write a list of steps like pressing the topmost button and waiting to arrive on that floor, watching as the door closes and opens, being alone inside the elevator, or having delays with the doors opening. Now try doing the opposite. For example, face away from the door or occupy yourself with your phone so that you are distracted.
  2. Create Your Fear Ladder Although the name says fear of elevators, it is not the whole process that scares you. There are just phases and parts of the elevator riding experience that cause you to panic. So go back to the list you initially created and label the fear level you feel. You can do it numerically, too, like ten being 'really scary,' six, 'manageable scary,' and one, 'not scary at all.' You can put the corresponding fear levels so you can focus more time and effort into activities that are more scary to you.
  3. Face Your Fear By now, you have identified what scares you the most. You can try repetitive action to minimize your fear and increase your sense of ‘normalcy’. Remember that the longer you expose yourself to your fear, the better you get at handling your emotions. If you are feeling overwhelmed, stop. Pushing yourself too fast and too soon can backfire. Modify your pace and go slower instead.
  4. Talk About Your Fear People by nature, unfortunately, are not quick to offer understanding and support. You need to tell them what's wrong before they can empathize. Talk to someone who you trust and ask for their support, especially in the initial phase of overcoming your fear. If you are too afraid to ride the elevator alone, you can ask them to go with you, and before you realize it, you are on your floor, and there was no indication of panic.
  5. Learn To Be Patient Be patient with yourself and your predicament. This is, after all, your fight against fear. It might take hundreds of elevator ride practices before the fear gets under control. Even then, there might be some hesitations and episodes of nervousness. These are acceptable and expected, so cut yourself some slack and congratulate yourself for every progress.

Seeking Professional Help

Along with self-help, you can always enlist a medical professional's aid to support you with your elevatophobia. Talking to someone who has experience with similar cases can be comforting, because you know that you are not alone, and this situation can get better. Talk to your doctor about the severity of your fears and the symptoms that you experience. Explain how you deal with it in an attempt to control it. An exam and a health history are made to ensure that there are no unrelated or underlying problems that your symptoms might mask. Usually, phobias like this are approached with a combination of psychotherapy and medication. Your doctor will talk about these options with you, and it's entirely up to you, with your doctor's recommendation, what you want to pursue. For psychotherapy, the most common type is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which aims to help you find different ways of behaving, thinking, and reacting when about to step inside an elevator or when already inside it. With medications, there are beta blockers and benzodiazepines, but note that these can have side effects. Whatever these side effects are, you should promptly share it with your doctor.

Simple Tips to Overcome Elevatophobia

Elevators are not perfect, but their likelihood to malfunction, fall, or get stuck is very low. If you are not fully confident with this information, you can help overcome your elevatophobia by learning common elevator safety tips and basic elevator operations. These should help curb your mild fear until you become more self-assured. In addition to that, here are some of the things that you can do to gradually overcome your fear of elevators—both in getting on and riding one.


Yes, elevatophobia can be a challenge in today's world, but don't allow the elevator to win. Don't let it stop you from taking a job on the top floor or attending a social gathering on the rooftop. Sure, you can take the stairs if you insist and arrive winded and sweaty, with the party about to wrap up. But is this the quality of life you seek? Elevators are designed to make life easier. There are guaranteed ways to help you overcome elevatophobia. Take the first step and seek help. Soon, you’ll see yourself breezing through the floors with those arduous stair climbs little more than a memory.
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